For architects and professionals in the design field, computers and digital media are powerful tools through which ideas can be developed, presented, explored and evaluated.
All architecture majors are required to obtain a laptop for use in the classroom/studio. The Department of Architecture suggests that students purchase a laptop with a fast graphics card and significant memory. A gaming laptop typically has the graphic processing power required to do much of the work in architecture school, but first verify any computer purchase is adequate and appropriate.
Note: Students are advised to make purchases as needed. Don't buy everything on your first year, as it runs the risk of becoming obsolete by the time you enter your fifth year in the program.
PC or Mac Laptop
- 32 GB or more RAM is recommended.
- A Powerful graphics card with onboard memory.
- Multiple-button mouse with scroll wheel is recommended.
- 500 GB hard drive storage.
- Built in Network Card – for wireless campus network and Bluetooth link to personal printer and other devices.
- 17” screen or supplementary monitor recommended.
- Microphone and webcam – most laptops come outfitted with these.
- USB Memory Stick 32+ GB –for mobilizing your work files.
- External HD – for archiving work 1TB.
- Desktop Printer – you should consider a color printer, a little more expensive but the net cost vs. paying a service bureau for color prints, after several quarters, is far less. A student can get by without buying a printer by finishing their work in time to utilize a service bureau (e.g.-Staples).
- Drawing Tablet and Stylus – ALT1: iPad Pro with Drawing app; ALT 2: Wacom Bamboo Capture; ALT 3: a Tablet PC meeting above specs may fulfill both laptop and tablet needs. Many students pair the use of a tablet (iPad) and a laptop to great success.
SOFTWARE (these are required)
Microsoft Office – for word processing, spread sheets and slide shows. free with *.edu email address.
Adobe Creative Cloud - image processing and graphics (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat). $30/year for students
Autodesk –Revit, Autocad, 3dsMax, Maya, Alias Sketch - free with *.edu email address.
Rhino 3d – $195 for academic license
Discount Software and Hardware can be purchased through the Cal Poly Pomona campus bookstore.
See the Bronco Bookstore for pricing (Adobe, Dell and Apple have special pricing for Cal Poly).
A growing number of students use Apple Powerbooks. Be advised that an Apple laptop’s hard drive will need to be partitioned to run both Apple and Windows applications.
Other necessary equipment
This Spec outlines a minimum capacity and will not necessarily allow a student to complete the required assignments for all courses offered in the ARC program. Other necessary equipment may include hardware and software for use with GPS services, 3D scanning, 3D Printing, etc. Students should also be advised that changes in computer technology are frequent and keeping pace with these changes can be expensive. Although serious thought has been given to what a student should purchase for college work, this spec list is not a guarantee that changes in technology will not make the student’s purchase less than adequate for advanced work for the full five years of the program.